Boeing

Savings come out in the wash as composites center shifts to cloth lab coats

Switch to fabric lab coats leads to less waste and more savings

January 29, 2018 in Our Environment

Composite fabricators Ciara Tice, Tyler Hart and Phonsack Meuangkhot wear the new cloth lab coats, designed to minimize dust and other contaminants during lamination and bonding of composite airplane parts.

Tori Dickson

Instead of tossing their lab coats in the trash, employees in the Controlled Contamination Area of Boeing Fabrication's Advanced Developmental Composites are tossing them in the laundry — helping the environment at the same time they reduce costs.

Lab coats are required in the Controlled Contamination Area (CCA) to minimize dust and other contaminants during lamination and bonding of composite airplane parts. Until recently, employees in the CCA’s “clean room” environment wore disposable coats that were sent to landfills after use.

Prompted by Boeing Quality compliance auditor Lorraine Kistner, the CCA switched in January to cloth lab coats that can be laundered. The switch helps both the environment and the bottom line, with a projected savings of $100,000 per year.

“Not only does it save money, but it will also save on filling up our landfills with the disposable coats that are not recyclable," Kistner said. “I think all employees have the opportunity and the responsibility to make the effort to cut waste and make Boeing a stronger company for the future.”

By Robin McBride

Mike Marty (left), from the Controlled Contamination Area, shows Quality compliance auditor, Lorraine Kistner, a label attached to one of the new cloth lab coat.

Tori Dickson